Malihini 101

If I ever have the chance, I want to have a community education class for recent transplants to the island, whether they're from Oahu or Oakland or Oklahoma. It would introduce them to basics about the island, culture, daily life, and history-- and hopefully make them better able to integrate themselves into the community with as little friction as possible. I'd get long-time locals and successfully-integrated malihini to come and teach each session, and have lots of discussion. And food. Plenny food.

How about this for some topics:

  • History of the island: pre-contact, Hawaiian Kingdom, plantation, annexation, ww2, statehood, Hawaiian Renaissance and the present
  • Local ghost stories (Obake stories!)
  • State of the island: an overview of local politics-- introducing politicians and major issues and summarizing all (hah) points of view.
  • Language: Intro to pidgin (what it's okay for Malihini to say, like pau, piko, howzit, and what it's not okay: cuz! Brah! Imua!!! When in doubt, don't try it out. Brah.) And Hawaiian phrases in common use. And for heaven's sake, how to pronounce the state: HA-VAI-I.
  • Local cooking: bentos, luau food, mochi, haupia.
  • Arts: okinawan dance, hula, slack key guitar
  • ettiquette: taking off shoes, bringing gifts, island time, small talk dos and don'ts! (don't ask, so what does YOUR husband do?)
  • Race in Hawaii: is "haole" a racial slur? (my opinion: no. It's a descriptor. If you acting like one @#$hole know-it-all from the mainland kine haole, then maybe. But you probably deserve it. Shoulda come to the ettiquette class! Besides if you Japanee or Pake you get the same ting. "Eh, you get Pake or what, cuz, you so tight wit your money!")

Wouldn't that be useful? One big (legitimate) complaint against malihini is their inability or unwillingness to blend in with the community-- to sit back and try and understand how things work here. But frankly, it's hard to learn. It takes lots of time and you make lots of mistakes. My theoretical class could help. Why not give people a hand up-- make life easier for everybody. Haole is a slur because so many haoles really do behave in unacceptable ways. Maybe education can save them! Poor tings, dem.


  1. Oh Becca, this would be TOTALLY AWESOME.....hey, write small kine book, one for older ones, and one for younger ones....maybe with would sell!! make good kala...and with some music for CD of how for talk, yeah? picha say big bucks kine....

    ah, If you only knew me when I could talk pidgin way good. (my chosen language) sigh. One time we were waiting for a baptism to start, Tomasi was going to baptise a blind man....Ron Mirashiro (also blind) stood next to me and then asked "are you Hawaiian"? I almost cried....I'd lived in Hawaii almost 26 years by that time.


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